Florentino Perez: The malevolent mastermind.
Florentino Perez, known to the world as the president of Real Madrid C.F is also the chairman of Grupo ACS. Florentino Perez is currently serving his fifth term as the president of Real Madrid C.F and has been one of the most successful presidents in the history of the club. Here we take a look at his five terms under three different time frames.
Florentino Perez first ran for the presidency of Real Madrid in the year 1995 but lost to Ramón Mendoza. His second attempt turned out to be successful when he defeated Lorenzo Sanz in 2000, the president then after highlighting the financial issues of the club and promising the Bernabéu faithful that he'd lure Luis Figo to the Spanish capital from FC Barcelona. Figo's transfer marked the start of Perez's Galáctico policy under which he was able to rope in Zinedine Zidane from Juventus in 2001, Ronaldo in 2002 from Inter Milan, David Beckham in 2003 from Manchester United, Michael Owen in 2004 and Robinho in 2005. Perez's policies reaped great success as Real Madrid won 2 La Liga's and their ninth UCL, La Novena. He even claimed success in clearing the club's debt. Perhaps his most contentious decision was the sale of land owned by Real Madrid in La Castellana Avenue, Ciudad Deportiva. The club sold this plot of land for approximately €500m. He went on to build a state of the art training complex Ciudad Real Madrid in Valdebebas.
All the players' image rights were transferred to the club which ensured some seriously hefty income for Madrid. The club was commercialized at every level and marketed to the extreme.
Everything was perfect until he decided against renewing Del Bosque's contract, the gaffer then even after leading the team to domestic success the following season. Many players were bought without the input of Del Bosque and there were allegations that the Real Madrid hierarchy had more control over the transfer policy, interfered in the team selection and other aspects that minimized the level of control Del Bosque had during his time as manager. Reportedly, this led to a standoff between Del Bosque, several players, and the board which saw captain Fernando Hierro leave in the summer of 2003. Things went from bad to worse when Perez had an altercation with Claude Makélélé regarding wages which led to Claude's departure in 2003.
Real Madrid was successful on the financial front but could not find much success on the pitch which led Perez to step down from the presidential post in 2006 during his second term citing that the team needed a new direction.